6.01.2006

DaVeni, DaVidi, DaVici *

Miss Snark,
Is it just me, or is Dan Brown an average-poor writer?

I don't know ... maybe it IS just me, but hearing so many people use the term "the next Dan Brown" as a complement really befuddles me. That's not a complemet. To me, it means that someone writes with obvious ploys and a laziness for providing information in innovative ways. It could also mean that the main reason a person will sell anything is because he or she is writing something "very" controversial ... or that maybe his or her wife/husband is doing all the research (as I've heard is true for him). I guess it much just be my writer-brain going on alert, or maybe it isn't ... I need the Wise One's opinion!! Would you have bought THE DA VINCI CODE?



When people compliment you by saying "the next Dan Brown" they mean your sales numbers not the quality of your writing. When they want to compliment the quality of your writing they say "Colson Whitehead would like this" or "Has the Pulitzer Committee read this?".

Every year or two there's a big book that does really well and frequently it's a book that people think isn't well written. Bridges of Madison County leaps to mind; everything by Nicholas Sparks; Tom Clancy.

When someone tells me he's the next Tom Clancy, it's an automatic pass. I don't like that kind of book, and I wouldn't recognize a well written one even if printed with explanations and footnotes..oh wait...he does that already. Never mind.

If someone says he's the next Dan Brown, same thing. I like mysteries that hold together and plots that make sense. I'll probably never have "the next Dan Brown" on my list, and I'm ok with that.

And no, I haven't ever bought a copy of the DaVinci Code.



*I came, I saw, I sold books

67 comments:

Feisty said...

Thank you for saying so.

I didn't read DaVinci, but my daughter did and upon reflection she said that it didn't really hold her or give her a reason to pick it back up and keep reading.

On the other hand, she loved White Oleander and The Lovely Bones (a literary book reader, for sure).

I suppose that in the big business world that sales numbers are the name of the game...for a few lucky souls. The rest of us get to write for other reasons.

AzGhostWriter said...

Well if anyone tells me I will be the next Stephen King then I'll scream.

Nick said...

Miss Snark,

Would you be interested in my next book, The Michelangelo Encryption? When a murder takes place in the Sistine Chapel, a cryptologist and university professor must follow a string of weak plot devices poorly disguised as clues...

Jellybean said...

I suffered through Angels & Demons while I was in a foreign hospital and had no alternative. After that horror (the book, not the hospital stay), nothing could induce me to endure DaVinci.

Mark said...

I read it through with no problem. Paid 50 cents for it in a thrift store. Brown lifted most of it from Lewis Perdue. He did add details and contoversy though. That sold it.

"and a laziness for providing information in innovative ways.?

This strikes me as oxymoronic on its face.

Miss Snark said...

I think Stephen King is a damn good writer.

Inkwolf said...

Whatever bad thing we say about The Da Vinci Code, at least it's better than The Celestine Prophecy.

Miss Snark said...

Nick, only if the murder victim is...well...never mind.

the person who asked the question said...

"A laziness for providing information in innovative ways" means that he just wrote what he wrote, and didn't think about it much. Like, at the beginning of the book, instead of just describing the main character, he has him remember a woman reading an article from a magazine that was describing him. I don't know. That may sound fresh and new to some people, but to me it was just corny. Then again, Dan Brown's existence annoys me, so I'm probably being hard on him....

(And thanks for answering Miss Snark!)

McKoala said...

compliment, please

Cudd said...

I'm wondering where the famous J.K.Rowling fits in with this in Miss Snark's opinion.

Elektra said...

the person who asked the question: He did even worse than that. he had Langdon look in a mirror.

Anyone ever notice how much cooler word veri looks in their fonts?

Feisty said...

Wait, wait, wait!

The whole Biblical conspiracy thing is NOT new. I studied this stuff over 20 years ago, so Dan Brown seems like old news to me. He's not saying anything new. He's just saying what was said back in the 80's when people didn't care or weren't listening. Not that conspiracy theories are really worth listening to.

But I guess the rest of the world was not researching it when I was. This seems new to them.

But hey, maybe I can find a theory that no one listened to in the 90's and turn it into a bestseller.

How sad.

Well maybe not!

dink said...

ARG! You mentioned "Bridges of Madison County" (makes the bit into a lemon face) gack gack gack.

Worst book ever! Sold bajillions. ptui! ew!

please let's never mention it again.

Glenda Larke said...

If anyone wants to read a sensible critique of Mr Brown's writing technique and style and plotting skills, take a look at this site: Language Log http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000844.html

pamela said...

Have not read anything by Dan Brown, but would love to read his first book, self-published, age five: The Giraffe, the Pig, and the Pants on Fire.

[Verification word: "lemrcy." What a cat being pursued by Pepé Le Pew would say: "Le pant! Le pant! Le mercy!"]

Jude Hardin said...

Stephen King IS a damn good writer. IMO, he'll go down as one of the greats. I have a whole new level of respect for you, Miss Snark.

cribcage said...

If you're going to scold Dan Brown's laziness and brag about your "writer's brain," perhaps you should double-check that you haven't misspelled words like "complemet."

The more I see of Miss Snark's readers, the more this blog resembles a writer's workshop. Most of them can't assemble words into a straight line, let alone juggle the Herculean tasks of grammar, punctuation, and spelling all at the same time.

I know, I know. "It's the story that matters. Copy editors can fix my prose, but I've got creative talent." Keep telling yourself that, while prospective agents keep using your queries as tinder. You'll die tragically unappreciated while contracts and awards are showered upon writers who learned to use a hammer before trying to build a house.

Anonymous said...

So much for my favorite conspiracy theory. All this time I'd been assuming you WERE Dan Brown!

Miss P AKA Her Royal Cliqueness said...

Gotta agree with Miss Snark - I love King's work. He's the only horror writer whose book -The Tommyknockers to be exact- had me sleeping with the light on. And I was in college! Way too old for a night light.

Now that's vivid imagery!

Ric said...

Gark!
A Stephen King Fan!
Misery found me turning lights on all over the house just to finish the book - and, no, I've never seen the movie - too afraid.

The Code is a beach read - you pick it up and can't put it down - definition of runaway best seller. Same with the others mentioned - something there that keeps you reading through the bad prose.

That's why you keep getting the same queries. Writers say, "I can do this."

Can it be bottled? We can put on the shelve next to the gin.

I just want to say said...

I suspcet some of the Dan Brown Derision stems from a tiny bit of . . . ahem . . . professional jealousy perhaps? I admit it freely, I'd love to have abook do as well as DaVinci Code. I read it. I enjoyed it. I saw the moive. I don't think I'll go visit Roslin Chapel or anything like that, but . . . .

Come on folks, he did a brilliant thing--commercially--and he, his agent and especially his editor deserves the bucks they are raking in.

Him for a new spin on an old idea, his agent for her work selling a controversial story, and his Editor . . . because I have read two of his other books and there I learned that he is a formula writer and that DVC was HEAVILY polished and edited, far more that his other books.

Dan Brown did what comercial writers do. He selected a tantalizing theme, embellished a lot, sped the action on, blended truth and fiction well enough that people felt the need to do research and to unlock THE REAL DA VINCI CODE. We can all sit around danming his success, or we can stop whining and write.

girl on top said...

To me the author who's just phoning it in now is Grisham. Every time I finish one of his new books I feel like a sucker for having bought it.

Anonymous said...

Veni, Vici, Velcro *




*I came, I saw, I stuck around

Ken Boy said...

Cribcage, get a grip. This is a blog. Who gives two swings of a dead editor how well written the comments are? If you want literary delights, Blogger ain't the way, hey hey hey. Try your local library -- it's also free.

Anonymous said...

Morning yawl. Seems as usual the gang is up and at it. I don't like to bash anyone's writing, but I have to comment. DaVinci didn't hold my attention no matter how hard I tried. And I tried. I was afraid it was just me. But hey, I take my hat off, or lay my pen down to this guy. Whatever--any of us have to say the man did something right. And he obviously has a following. So who am I? A grown girl with ADD. Maybe, I'm a dumb ass. Occurred to me. He's smiling all the way to the bank and I'm glad for him.

Stephen King. He scares the hell out of me. But I think his writing is awesome. In my opinion he's a genius.

Excuse the writing. Never really learned. Still trying. Don't know where spell check is on this thing. My grammar is, well, let's not even think about it. Just happy to be here.

Georgia Girl

And yes, I also loved White Oleander.

lottery ticket said...

Professional jealousy? Nah. That would assume that I would like to be the person who wrote, "he waved, quietly" (possibly my favorite piece of deathless Brown prose).
And then there's the character so finely crafted that we should have no trouble believing that a world reknowned symbologist would take pages and pages to decipher a code which any kid familiar with Highlights magazine would get. Didn't anyone else scream "buy a mirror!" when they got to that bit?

Deb said...

The item I loved in the whole DVC talk is the bit about the albino.

Now a lady comes on the local talk radio - she's the head of an albinism support group (she has two albino adult-kids) and says an albino would NEVER act in a capacity where visual acuity is a must.

Reason: albinos don't see very well. Dan B didn't do his homework! So much for meticulously edited...

T2

Kristen King said...

As far as I'm concerned, the only other writer who's as overrated as, or possibly more overrated than, Dan Brown is Nicholas Sparks. *Finally* someone else sees this!

Clare said...

There's professional jealousy, and then there's professional jealousy. It's perfectly possible to be jealous of Dan Brown's lightning-in-a-bottle success (million dollar movie deals, millions of copies sold - he'll never worry about money again) without being jealous of his actual prose. And without the million dollar book deals, there'd be a lot less vitriol directed his way - he'd just be another guy who wrote a book that was okay, but not great.

I have never read the Da Vinci Code - read "Holy Blood Holy Grail' many years ago and was bored by the whole idea, and DVC sounded like a rehash. But I do have a friend who works as a buyer at Borders, who called me after she'd first read the DVC, long before it was out in stores and said, "I didn't like this book much, but it is going to sell a bazillion copies." And she was right.

Writing successful popular fiction *is* a skill. There's a lovely scene in Phillipa Gregory's book Zelda's Cut where a disgruntled literary author complains to her agent that if she just lowered her standards and wrote one of "those" crappy popular novels, she could easily be rich. And he quietly explains to her that it doesn't work that way at all, that writing a book that sets aside style and speaks directly to a wide range of people's dreams, hopes and fantasies is damn hard and the talent to do it is an unusual one. I may not like the prose of Nora Roberts, Mary Higgens Clark, Nicholas Sparks, et. al., but they do what they do in a way that works for a lot of people, and I'm not so much a snob that I'd be insulted to be compared to them. It's not like they're out there selling crack to schoolkids. Sheesh.

And for the record, Stephen King is a wonderful author. So is J.K. Rowling.

Kristin said...

Thank you, Miss Snark, for bringing up this topic!

Dan Brown did NOT hold my interest when I finally succumbed to reading his book. In fact, I was commenting out loud while reading on the stupidity of some of his 'clues.' I figured out many in a few moments, while his brilliant cryptologist spent pages contemplating and wondering. Irritating. Uninteresting. Character-less. Did not deserve to sell a zillion copies, IMHO.

Read one Nicholas Sparks book...I was equally mortified. Maudlin, ridiculous, overblown...I could go on. It was "Message in a Bottle," and I'll never read another book of his again.

Stephen King is a master of character. Incredible writer.

Nick said...

I don't know about that. I'm still pissed off at Stephen King for the last three Dark Tower books.

Dragonet2 said...

I tried to read the Davinci Code, it was left in our bathroom by one of my partners. I couldn't do it. It was too tedious.

King gives me the willies, so much so that the only thing of his I've read recently was his book on writing. He's a wonderful writer but it ain't worth keeping me up nights, especially since I live in a 1912 house that creaks.

Rowling knows how to tell a story and keep the reader's interest, I just finished a second swoop through the six books. I can't wait for the next.

Just my 2¢, ymmv.

alau said...

excellent Latin title! It made me laugh

uskdtr said...

I actually know the man who's going to be the next Stephen King, provided he doesn't kill himself with drugs and vodka or let office work destroy his soul. He's been an outstanding writer since age 13 and if he doesn't get rich or famous, preferably both, I'll be personally disappointed.

Mags said...

Misery is a brilliant book. Every writer should read it. It's all about the writer's muse; and it even includes some writing instruction (the stuff about not "cheating").

(ver is dplusq. I think that's textspeak for "speechless.")

E. Ann Bardawill said...

I remember reading a Nic Sparks novel.

I had to stop.

My family thought I was becoming bumlemic.

bordermoon said...

I would LOVE to have a book do as well as THE DA VINCI CODE (which I thought was a fun read, if nothing new), and I think it's great that any writer can pull in that much money. It's money that lets you do silly, girlish things like pay bills, donate to charity, and buy other peoples' books hardcover to help support the cause of reading and keeping authors solvent. Sure, CODE's nothing new, but so what? Harry Potter's not the first young wizard, either. It's like people complaining that the readers of the Oprah picks "don't go on to read other things". Look, Oprah enticed people who didn't read ANY books a year into reading TWELVE. That's good in my book (so to speak.) As for whether a particular reader likes CODE or Harry Potter or, in fact, any other book -- as my mother always says, "Each to his own taste, the old woman said as she kissed the cow." READ and ENJOY what YOU like. (Oh, and buy the books you like new, okay?)

The Rentable Writer said...

cribcage: This is Miss Snark's blog. Not the Dan Brown Appreciation Club (or a dictionary for that matter). I'm sure the next thing you were going to do was get on Miss Snark's back for not spacing her ellipsis properly, no? (I mean no offense to the Great One.)

Plot Baby Plot said...

I really admire Dan Brown's work. I think he's a great plotter, and there is no question that his books require a massive amount of research and hard work. He deserves all the money he has made.

His books are meant to be FUN. Remember fun? A book can be very enjoyable without being a literary masterpiece.

There are many readers who are looking for something entertaining, and Dan Brown fits that need (as does Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, Tom Clancy, James Patterson, etc.)

Gabriele C. said...

feisty,
I'm with you here. Reading DVC was like meeting old friends - "hey, you're here, too, how nice." What Brown did was to add a thriller plot and clues so thick every reader gets them before the characters do. "I knew that was going to happen." Makes for happy readers. :)

BTW A fellow historical fiction writer told me the Temple Church in London is stuffed with tourists doing some sort of DVC tour. The world is a crazy place. :)

mazement said...

I really wanted to like "The Da Vinci Code". I've got a weakness for off-the-wall conspiracy theories, especially when the Gnostics are involved.

I wanted to be able to put it on my shelves next to "Foucault's Pendulum" and "Illuminatus!" and my "Neon Genesis Evangelion" DVD's.

Then I started flipping through it in the bookstore, and got tangled up in the second sentence. ("...the seventy-six-year-old man heaved the masterpiece toward himself until it tore from the wall and Sauniere collapsed...") Like the guy on Language Log pointed out, the phrasing makes it sound there are two characters involved. I had to re-read the first sentence to verify there was only one person.

It's not a huge problem, but it's sloppy, and not one person involved in the publishing process cared enough to do anything about it.

Really, there are two kinds of artists. There are the ones who fall in love with an idea and want to share it to their extent of their skills, and then there are the ones who just want to grind out a paint-by-numbers work and get paid.

So it's just enormously frustrating to see an uninspired potboiler get so much publicity, when an inspired potboiler could have sold just as well. (I mean, frustrating for me as a reader. I couldn't write a potboiler of any sort, so I'm not in competition with him.)

Apparently the movie wasn't able to rise above it's source material, either...

I'll tell you what I did like. The "Da Vinci Code" movie promo contest they were running on Google. You can tell that Wei-Hua Hwang had a lot of fun coming up with the puzzles, and I won a brass cryptex that was really quite nicely crafted.

MommyWithAttitude said...

Tom Robbins did the whole "they found the body" thing, and he's infinitely more talented than Dan Brown. That said, a best-seller is a best-seller and if I thought I could write one I wouldn't be too much of a snob to do it.

Anonymous said...

Stephen King is an awesome writer. Anyone who can make a line like "..an ass easily two axe-handles wide," work is just freaking awesome. Although he does tend to write long...

kis said...

person who asked this question-

[he has him remember a woman reading an article from a magazine that was describing him. I don't know. That may sound fresh and new to some people, but to me it was just corny.]

Isn't that just some ill-concealed variation on the MC looking in the mirror (or pool of water, or darkened windowpane, or whatever)?

And no, I haven't read DaVinci yet. Maybe I will. I won't let anyone else's opinion of it interfere with my own, however. Just like I don't let other people's glowing recommendations of certain authors convince me that crap really isn't crap.

Elektra said...

Miss Snark, are you attending the Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, John irving reading in NYC in August? *clutches her $12 nosebleed ticket and prays she has binoculars powerful enough to see the authors*

Daisy said...

I gave up on that book at the point when it got the song "The Age of Aquarius" stuck in my head. There are some transgressions too henious to be forgiven.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed The DaVinci Code. Of course, the fact that it wasn't titled The Leonardo Code clued me in to expect fluff.

kyle said...

Sadly, mazement, Dan Brown certainly ain't no Umberto Eco.

I was hoping the same.

Damn!

Nick said...

Upon reflection, I thought the title for Da Vinci Code was misleading. The hidden meanings and sybmolism in the pictures was referenced, but the real codes were the ones the caretaker left behind.

Elektra said...

Plot baby plot:

For a book to be fun to most people, it has to be easy to read, easy to get into. For the most part, Da Vinci isn't any of those things. you spend the whole time reading the dialogue thinking, "Who SAYS that?". The reason, I think, that it took off is because it makes not-so-smart people feel intelligent (not to say intelligent people can't enjoy it, just that they're not the significant portion of the readership). Because Dan Brown took concepts and riddles, made the reader think they're really hard, and then spelled them out so that even a two-year-old would have figured them out before the supposed specialists in the story.

Anonymous said...

Mazement, I won one of the cryptex thingies too! Google really does things right. No cheap plastic toys for them. The puzzles were fun, too. But I wish they would let us know the winning time! I am sure that some geniuses out there had the five final puzzles all solved before I even got the first one, but it would be nice to know... and envy...

As for the subject matter of this thread, Dan Brown did something pretty well, and it behooves all the prospective best-seller writers out there to figure out what. He wrote a novel about an idea and got the American public to buy it -- something I would not have believed possible.

Mark said...

I went to college with Stephen King, but didn't know him at the time. He's older. My friend's sister did though. That's the way Maine is. His stories ring true for me because I'm also from Castle Rock, Maine like he is. I was in the film Graveyard Shift too although cut from the final footage.

picardyrose said...

Clare, thank you for mentioning "Zelda's Cut" -- very funny and yet an object lesson. I don't think I've ever met anyone else who had read it.

Does anyone -- except Isobel Latimer a.k.a. Zelda -- ever sit down and say: I'm going to spend years of research and travel and stiff necks and shooting pains in the wrist just to write a cruddy novel that will sell millions? If millions of people buy someone's book, it's because THEY LIKE IT. I can't stand Mitch Albom; yet, his books are popular, people enjoy them, and what's wrong with that? (I don't dislike him because he's hideously successful. I dislike him because I know him and I think he's snotty.)

It's not as though there is X amount of success in the world and if someone else gets a lot, you won't get any.

McKoala said...

I couldn't get into The DaVinci Code at all; the style annoyed me too much. DH loved it, though. Each to his own. It's a blockbuster and a half and I can see why it's successful even if it's not for me.

Cribcage, most of us type out our replies pretty fast and have a better grasp of grammar and spelling than our flying fingers demonstrate.

Amra Pajalic said...

Enjoyed Da Vinci Code. Gotta appreciate it for what it is. Didn't notice the writing because I was too busy turning the page, which is the point. I read it before the hype but I do have a tendency to get turned off by books that are too built up.

JK Rowlings and Memoirs of a Geisha are two that spring to mind. Did the same with the movie Jurrasic Park and then watched it years later and enjoyed it so who knows how I'd feel about Memoirs or Harry Potter now.

When something has such a huge buzz around it you read/watch it with a much more critical mind because your expectations have been elevated. Don't know what you expect but you do.

Won't ever forget my experience of watching The Others. Was excited about watching the movie but then saw Nicole Kidman in an interview where she said the ending was amazing. Didn't matter what the ending was it wasn't going to meet my expectations and off course, it didn't. So I've learnt not to know too much about a movie/book because I probably won't enjoy it.

Cribcage-dismount.

RiterLady said...

To be honest, I liked Brown's two books I read, and I like King, though his books tend to scare me.

Why, since some of you feel their writing is mediocre at best, do I think they both have such success? Mainly there's a difference between technique and storytelling abilities. The average reader can excuse less than stellar technique if the storytelling is above par...both of these writers are wonderful storytellers. IMHO, that's why their books strike a chord with so many readers.

I've critiqued many on-the-mark technically perfect writers, but their mss lack heart and soul, the mark of a true storyteller. And most of them, I fear, will never sell.

PubGuy said...

Sort of boring to debate the talents of Dan Brown and Stephen King, don't you think?

I'd encourage people to check out Christopher Moore. I just discovered him a few months back although he's written 10 books. The latest is A Dirty Job, an excellent read. My favorite of the four I've read so far is Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff. It's written with great humor and wit.

Ken Boy said...

I've read The Notebook (at the behest of my girlfriend, who was then pissed that I hadn't read it fast enough) and Angels and Demons (bought at the airport to keep my mind off whether my fellow passengers were too overweight or dangerous fanatics). Both were good, I thought, much better than most of the crap out there.

For instance, I was barely able to finish The Broker, and I almost didn't make it past the first page of The Dante Club (nearly unintellible, but it settled down nicely after that).

The criticisms of Brown et al. may be valid, but the vehemence with which they are stated can only be from jealousy, in my humble opinion.

Elektra said...

Ken Boy, you didn't like The Dante Club? Gasp! Thou art banished from the Crapometer!

aardvark.novelista@gmail.com said...

I'm not a huge Dan Brown fan, either, but I do like Tom Clancy's work.

His writing isn't always engaging, but I like the ideas he presents.

Ken Boy said...

Elektra, I enjoyed it very much. As I recall, great first sentence, then an abomination of a first paragraph, then a troublesome first few pages, then it got (much) better. I think he was trying too hard in the early bits. I also suspect that the great reviews had as much to do with the literary nature of the subject matter as with the quality of the work. Nothing so significant to people in the literature biz as a book about literature. Just my opinion.

Though I liked it, I must admit to a recurring urge to snicker at the intrepid, crime-fighting poets. Holy roundeau, Bat Man. ;)

The Rentable Writer said...

elektra: I'll be attending "An Evening with Harry, Carrie & Garp" on August 1st. Luckily, I got $29 tickets, but my mom and her friend'll be sitting in the third mezzanine. I can't wait to hear Rowling and King -- two of my favorite authors.

amra pajalic: Jurassic Park is my favorite movie of all time -- and the books are better! I definitely encourage you all to read the JP books by Michael Crichton. (There is no book for the third movie, which I think was crap.)

Also, I agree with riterlady. The common (non-writer) reader doesn't really notice technique, but cares mainly more about story -- which is fine. I do the same thing, but I'd appreciate the book more if the writing was good. Being a writer, I really notice an author's style.

Anonymous said...

The whole idea behind a best-seller is that it has to be accessible. That is, even a fifth-grader should be able to follow the writing--if not the plot--because so many North Americans have poor language and reading skills. Hence the poorly written book with the page-turning plot.

And I'm not sure its popularity is all about making its readers feel smarter than they are (as Elektra said). Some of it HAD to be the material itself. Combining feminist ideals with the Catholic curch and conspiracy theories (and an albino monk who likes to whip himself--hey, who couldn't love that?) was what made it work. It just kinda spoke to the whole western mentality these days.

Elektra said...

Everyone seems to have Aug 1st tickets! I'll be up in third mezzazine the day after. Tell me, have you been able to get your question to the author through? I wanted to ask Stephen King when the Rock Bottom Remainders were going to take an East Coast tour, but the form thingee won't accept gmail as a valid address.

The Rentable Writer said...

elektra:

I haven't thought of my questions yet! I need to finish a King book before I can think of one. And I still have to read 'Garp.' Harry Potter on the other hand ...

Anonymous said...

Ok. As someone who has taught High School English for far too long... God Bless Dan Brown, Stephen King, JK Rowling, Nicholas Sparks, and the rest of them. When I can eavesdrop on a bunch of 11th graders debating the faithfulness of a movie to a book or Fluffy, the three-headed dog, as an allusion to Greek mythology... well, those are the days I live for!

I want my kids to read. Some of them will never discover the joy of Pulitzer Prize-winning, Nobel-worthy literature. Some of them may never pick up the New Yorker. But every minute they spend buried in The DaVinci Code is a minute they aren't spending playing Halo or losing brain cells in any number of other ways.

We are so blessed to live in a country where we can:
1. Read crap freely.
2. Choose to read crap or to read great literature or to read anything in between.
3. Read blogs like that of the great Miss Snark -- neither crap nor great literature, but something in a rarified catagory all its own.

By the way, my students love you, Miss Snark. They strive to win the Killer Yap award -- for the most vivid word choice of the day.